Britain’s shameful treatment of Chagos islanders must end | Benjamin Zephaniah

A bill going before parliament today will cut the prohibitive cost of UK citizenship for families, victims of a disgraceful exile

I bang on about the plight of the people of the Chagos Islands a lot, and sometimes even I might use statistics too much, so let me tell you about Jeanette. Jeanette’s mother, Monique, was born on the Chagos Islands and was therefore a British subject. But her time living there was destined to be short. In the late 1960s, she, like the rest of the population, was forced to leave.

Her removal came when the UK leased the islands to the US military, so it could build a base on the largest island, Diego Garcia. Chagossian deportees were dumped on the docks of Mauritius and Seychelles. Compensation was promised but those exiled to Seychelles, such as Jeanette’s mother, never received a penny. Even for those in Mauritius, meagre compensation arrived almost a decade late.

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